Spicy Rice with Snap Peas, Feta and Mint

The Spicy Rice with Snap Peas, Feta and mint that I made tonight was not only really, really tasty, but it erased lots of bad images I had my mind of  Spicy Rice..Let me tell you more…..
While studying at varsity, I stayed in a hostel and although I had many tasty and comforting meals there, the spicy rice we got on Sundays was memorable…..but for all the wrong reasons. The chef or kitchen staff clearly thought that a stock cube could change ordinary white rice into spicy, savory rice. Blegh!!!! What we saw, as we waited in line to dish up, was a lumpy, brownish-grey mass that tasted horrible and not even a ladle full of gravy could make it edible!
The thing is, I like rice (any kind)! I like spicy rice if it is  made properly, with real stock, vegetables and some herbs. Not only is it one of the cheapest meals to prepare, but it is quick and even the fiercest carnivore at your table might just hold his plate for a second helping. I must say tonight’s Spicy Rice was so far removed from what I had in the hostel dining room that I think I can close that chapter now and write all over it in big bold letters: NO MORE BLAND SPICY RICE!

Ok, let me say it again, I love rice…Arborio, wild, jasmine, white, brown, basmathi, you name it.Sweet and Sour Pork would just not be the same it isn’t served on steamed jasmine rice and it is hard to imagine my Cape Malay Curry without a bowl of hot Basmathi rice on the side. Spicy Rice however needs to be cooked with white rice, plain old boring white rice. The white rice is your canvas and you can add whatever ingredients, textures or flavors you like. I emptied the fridge!

Spicy White rice with Snap Peas, Feta and mint
Serves 8 comfortably

Ingredients 

100gr raw rice per person
3-4 leeks – white and green parts – chopped
1 onion – chopped
1 red pepper – chopped
1 green pepper – chopped
1 yellow pepper – chopped
4 spring onions – chopped
2 cloves garlic – chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
about 2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp smoked chili flakes – optional
2 sachet tomato paste
about 2 liters chicken stock – I used Nomu Chicken Fond
250 gr snap peas or baby green beans
2 wheels feta cheese
Fresh parsley and mint

Method
I made this recipe in my wok. Heat the wok and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the paprika, all the chopped vegetables and garlic. Saute for about 3-4 minutes and add all the rice. Stir until all the rice has a little oil coating. Add the stock until the rice is completely covered. Add the tomato paste. Turn the heat right down to it’s lowest setting and allow the rice to cook slowly absorbing all the liquid. If the rice is not cooked and it needs more liquid, add some. Once the rice is plump and all the liquid has cooked away, add the green beans or snap peas and just stir through. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. The heat from the rice is enough to just cook the beans or peas without over cooking them. Serve with chopped mint and parsley and crumble the feta cheese over the top just before serving.

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